Braj Bhoomi – the ‘Land of Eternal Love’ and the name given to the region where the popular god Krishna is believed to have been born and spent his early years – existed only in the collective consciousness of Hindus until it was rediscovered by 16th-century scholars in the physical world in and around Mathura, 58km northwest of Agra.
Mathura was once a Buddhist centre with 20 monasteries that housed 3000 monks, but during the 8th century Buddhism began to give way to Hinduism. In 1017 most of the Buddhist temples and Hindu shrines were levelled by the Afghan warlord Mahmud of Ghazni. More destruction occurred in the 16th century when Aurangzeb flattened the Kesava Deo Temple during one of his many demolition sprees and built a mosque in its place.
Nowadays the area is a religious centre full of Hindu temples that attract floods of pilgrims, particularly during Janmastami (Krishna’s birthday) in August/September.
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Mathura destination guides
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